When Warner Bros. announced its new take on Barbie in a live-action movie, some expectations were hard to get away from. As an icon of childhood, and with previous iterations in animated shows being aimed squarely at a young audience, the idea of a live-action Barbie movie just doesn’t seem like something to get overly enthusiastic about. Then came the announcement that Margot Robbie had been cast in the lead role, with Ryan Gosling as Ken, and now it looks like the cast has bolstered its star power by pulling in Shang-Chi star Simu Liu. With the addition of Oscar-winner Greta Gerwig directing, the live-action Barbie movie seems to be gearing up to be whatever people think that it isn’t.
Margot Robbie hinted previously that the script for the Barbie movie, which is being kept under wraps, will bring something that people don’t see coming from the Barbie brand. In 2020 she said, “Something like Barbie, where the IP, the name itself, people immediately have an idea of ‘Oh, Margot is playing Barbie, I know what this is.’ But our goal is to be like, ‘Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different – the thing you don’t know you wanted.’”
Following the announcement in October last year that Oscar Nominee and Golden Globe winner Ryan Gosling would be appearing in the movie as Ken, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that fellow Canadian Simu Liu is in the last stages of negotiations to also star in the movie, adding to a cast that also recently brought in America Ferrera in an undisclosed role. All in all, the initial terrible prospect of a live-action Barbie movie is transforming into something strangely appealing.
A Live-Action Barbie Movie Has Been In The Works for Almost a Decade
While the Barbie movie seems to have progressed massively in the last couple of years, the first discussions about bringing the iconic toy line to the big screen surfaced back in 2014. The original pitch would have seen Amy Schumer playing the title role, with Juno writer Diablo Cody providing the script. When Schumer abandoned the project, Anne Hathaway was the next star to be attached to it, and when she too stepped away from the role, it seemed that the movie was all set to be consigned to the development hell pit of lost films forever.
In 2018, the rights to Barbie reverted back to Mattel, who immediately partnered up with Warner Bros. in an attempt to resurrect the project. Robbie boarded in 2019, and from there, the film seems to have a decent foothold to make it to completion. While Barbie has appeared in many forms over the years, from animated cartoons to CGI straight to DVD movies, this will be the first live-action iteration of the 60-year-old doll to hit the big screen. According to recent reports, the movie will begin filming in March, focusing on an early release in 2023.